The National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) manages the register of all qualifications in South Africa, called the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

By knowing what the NQF is, you can determine which qualifications are registered and accredited. Qualifications that are not on the NQF are neither.

The NQF is a single integrated system consisting of 3 related qualifications sub-frameworks for:

  • General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework (GFETQSF)
  • Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF)
  • Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF)

There are 10 NQF levels, each one with specific standards of intellectual and academic skills. According to this academic measure, the higher your NQF Level of your qualification, the more intellectually skilled you are.

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF Levels) table


The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels are a way to measure qualifications.
They need to specify the level of registered qualification and SAQA ID. This shows that they have passed a test with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to determine its level and quality. 

To consider it a qualification it has to :

  • Have a minimum credit value of 120 
  • Be registered on the NQF with an SAQA ID number.

A qualification with 120 credits will take at least a year to complete. In fact, that is the shortest accredited qualification time. Without the above two mentioned, you should consider it a short course rather than a qualification.

Therefore, if an institution offers you a two month Diploma course, it has no accreditation. Same goes with if they cannot provide you with the SAQA ID for the course. 

However, if they do provide you with a SAQA ID, you should search for the qualification on the Registered Qualifications and Unit Standards list to verify it.

Quality Councils 

The following Quality Councils in South Africa will check the quality of the qualifications before they accredit them, and register them on the NQF:

Each Quality Council manages a sub-framework and has the following responsibilities:

  • Develop qualifications and part qualifications
  • Quality assure the qualifications
  • Develop and implement the following policies for their specific sectors:
    • Recognition of Prior Learning
    • Credit Accumulation and Transfer
    • Assessment 
  • Recommend qualifications to South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to register on the NQF

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accredited courses. Distance learning is ideal for working individuals looking to boost their career.

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We want to be the college that takes you further and helps you reach all your career goals. 

If you are looking to further your education, contact us using one of the following ways:

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Author: Kayla Preston
Last Updated: 21 December 2020

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